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IAN A ANDERSON - Onwards! Vol.2: A Crown Of Crows 

IAN A ANDERSON - Onwards! Vol.2: A Crown Of Crows 
Ghosts From The Basement GFTB7054 

Being the follow-on from last year’s Onwards!, here is a further delve into Ian’s back pages which displays the man’s eclecticism, impeccable taste and all-round good eggness. His countless collaborations and involvements which have embraced broadcasting, magazine production and editorship plus tour organisation and record label creation is an impressive tally.

Those aware of him only as the esteemed editor of the late lamented fRoots have an ear-opener in store with this 21-track retrospective of a career spanning 50+ years covering revisits, outtakes and rarities. The title track from 1968’s Stereo Death Breakdown album catches him early in his career leading us through to 2019 and a made-for-YouTube Black Crow in a comprehensive anthology.

From the sturdy country blues of Fred McDowell’s Write Me A Few Of Your Lines, which has Maggie Holland on bass, to the glorious melange of Sloe Banga with the majestic Orchestra Super Moth, this is music so satisfying it sticks to your ribs. The exquisitely picked folk of The False Bride Tune and a steady rolling, lyrically amusingly Pretty Peggy-O are reminders that Anderson was the man to whom ‘Folk’ in the erstwhile Folk Roots mag was no stranger. Looping and soaring South Coast Bound from the Blue Blokes 3 album simply fizzes, oh and Hezekiah Jenkins’ The Panic Is On (1931) illustrates our current unsettled times are nothing new.

With superb packaging, as you’d expect knowing Ian’s attention to detail, we have a hugely accomplished exercise, rich in diversity and highlighting a man whose influence continues to be immense. A catalyst in so many ways, but first and foremost a musician. This is a substantial package, and highly recommended.

Clive Pownceby


This review appeared in Issue 136 of The Living Tradition magazine